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Ant Control 101: A Useful Guide For Longview Homeowners

three ants

Can you think of things that you see everywhere you look? Some things you will find all around you are trees, grass, pavement, cars, birds, and houses. We see those items because they are plentiful and take up space, but there are other things around us, like ants, that we do not see, even though they are everywhere. Of course, if we stop for a moment and look down on the ground, we will see the little creatures scurrying about along the sidewalk or traveling over grass in the yard, but we tend to miss them because of their size.

Intuitively, we know ants are necessary for the ecosystem, and we usually have no problem with them living in our yards, but when we see ants crawling on our food, we know we need ant pest control because we do not want ants in our house. The idea of ants moving about in shared space makes us feel itchy and dirty.

If you have lines of ants marching into your house or witness ants crawling across the countertops, you need the Longview pest control services of Gecko Pest Control. Our highly trained technicians have removed ants from the Longview area for over 20 years. For over a decade, we have received the Hometown Best award recognizing our reliable and effective pest control solutions and customer service.

We are part of this community, and our service professionals live and volunteer in our area. Our desire is not only to serve our community with quality pest control but to help educate our community so that together we can win the war against pests like ants. The following article will help you identify ants in our area, the problems they may cause, and what you can do as a homeowner to prevent them from overtaking your Longview home.

Characteristics Of Common Ants

There are over 10,000 ant species worldwide, and hundreds of species live in Texas. We cannot review every ant species in this article, but we will start with the general characteristics of ants and then look at specific ant species infesting homes in the Longview area.

Scientifically, ants are in the Insecta class of the animal kingdom. Insects have three pairs of jointed legs, a body with three segments (head, thorax, and abdomen), one pair of antennae, and compound eyes. Like wasps, ants have a narrow waist between the thorax and abdomen. Unlike wasps, ants may or may not have a stinger, and ants may or may not have wings, depending on the species.

Now that we have noted general attributes, we will look at the qualities of ants commonly found in the Longview area that will require ant control:

  • Little black ants: The name of this ant species is very descriptive of these ants. These ants have a black 1/16-inch body, are most active in the late summer months, and hide behind baseboards, masonry, facades, and wall voids. Every summer, winged reproductive ants swarm to find new nesting locations and create new colonies. Incidentally, little black ants have a stinger; but it is too weak to penetrate human skin. 
  • Red imported fire ants: Unlike black ants, these ants have a stinger that can penetrate human flesh inflicting great pain. Although red imported fire ants occasionally enter homes, they primarily reside outdoors underneath mulch and in two to four feet irregular mounds built alongside foundations, trees, and landscaping timbers. As their name suggests, these aggressive non-native ants have a reddish-brown 1/8 to 3/8 inch long body.
  • Carpenter ants: We associate carpentry with wood, so logically, this ant species invades wood. Carpenter ants have a 1/2 to 5/8-inch body. In Texas, we have 14 carpenter ant species with body colors ranging from red, brown, black, or a mixture thereof. No matter the species, these ants create nests in rotting tree stumps and moist wood scraps. 
  • Tawny crazy ants: Discovered first in Houston in 2002, this ant species has rapidly spread and displaced other ants. These reddish-brown 1/8-inch long ants are so-called due to their erratic behavior. The longhorn crazy ant is similar in body color but has longer legs and antennae. Crazy ants live under yard debris (i.e., rocks, timber) but do not build mounds or have a centralized nest. These ants are likely to enter Longview homes in the winter. 
  • Pharaoh ants: The ants we have discussed so far have a dark red, brown, or black body color, but this ant is different. Pharaoh ants have a pale yellowish to reddish 1/16 inch body. These ants use the wiring in the house as a highway to travel through walls. 
  • Harvester ants: This ant species do not invade homes but are in yards. They have an orange to brownish-black 1/4 to 1/2 inch body with long hairs on their head, which makes it look like they have a beard. Areas of bare soil around an ant mound outdoors are an indication of a harvester ant infestation. 
  • Argentine ants: These ants have an oval, shiny brown to black 1/16 to 1/4 inch body. Argentine ants create new interconnected colonies like Pharaoh ants through a process known as budding. If Argentine ants enter your Longview house, they settle near sinks, potted plants, and other high-moisture areas. 

Do not allow ants to overtake your property, but get ant control in Longview from Gecko Pest Control when these ants are on your property.

The Problems An Ant Infestation Can Cause In Your Home

Effective home pest control is necessary because ants can harm your home and family. Although it may sound like hyperbole to suggest that these tiny creatures can hurt your family, we will reveal how ants can wreak havoc on homeowners.

Carpenter ants can cause significant structural damage over time. These ants invade properties and search for softened wood to create nests. Unlike termites, carpenter ants do not eat cellulose but bore smooth tunnels in wood for shelter. In a few years, a carpenter ant colony will grow to about 10,000 ants that are chewing away daily as they bore several feet into the wood in your home. Eventually, the wood beams supporting the house grow weak from the extensive tunnels resulting in sagging floors, warping windows and door frames, or collapsing structures. Because carpenter ants are inside the wood, you may not see them, but if you notice discarded wings in window sills or spider webs, they have invaded your house.

Ants sometimes infest electronic equipment and appliances where they chew on the wiring. Ants introduce moisture to the wiring from the objects they bring into the nest causing short circuits and sometimes sparking a fire. Tawny crazy ants are known to chew through wiring.

Another ant species that can harm your family is the pharaoh ant. Although they are only 1/16 inch long, these tiny yellowish ants spread bacteria as they travel across open wounds on sleeping people. Bacteria spread by pharaoh ants produce salmonellosis, staphylococcus, clostridium, and streptococcus. Argentine ants do not have the same reputation for spreading disease as the pharaoh ants, but since they forage in sewage and trash, they may carry bacteria that cause dysentery.

Perhaps the ant famous for causing problems in recent memory is the imported red fire ant. These ants build large, irregular nests filled with thousands of ants that aggressively swarm and attack anything that disturbs the nest. When a fire ant attacks, it bites the victim enabling it to hang on so it can sting and inject its venom. Unlike the jagged stingers of honey bees who die when they try to remove the sting, fire ant stingers are smooth, enabling them to attack the victim multiple times. A painful white pustule forms from the venom and lasts for several days; in some cases, individuals may suffer anaphylactic shock requiring medical treatment.

Bacteria attach to the ants as they travel over garbage, rotting food, and other filthy surfaces; when ants crawl over exposed fruits and other edibles, they pollute them with the bacteria. Some ants are incredibly tiny and can infiltrate packaged food items by crawling underneath the paper folds.

If you are searching for an ant control service near your home, look no further than Gecko Pest Control. We will stop ants before they cause structural damage, spread disease, contaminate food, or potentially short-circuit your electronic equipment. 

Six Simple Yet Effective Ant Prevention Tips

Ant control in your house begins with prevention. Here are six tips that will keep ants from infesting your Longview home:

  1. Seal cracks around the exterior of the house 
  2. Cover all vents with wire mesh
  3. Repair holes in screens
  4. Install sweeps on all exterior doors
  5. Prune bushes and trees to keep from touching the house
  6. Keep outdoor garbage cans sealed

Combining these outdoor ant control tips from Gecko Pest Control with a clean house will deter ants from invading your Longview property.

The Secret Weapon To Total Ant Control For Longview Homes

Gecko Pest Control provides the best pest control near you for ants. Our technicians will inspect your home to determine entry points, attractants, and hot spots. We will use this information to create a custom treatment plan targeting the ant species invading your house. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment plan options.

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